It will be difficult to find another Hugo Chavez
Though the Venezuelan leader will be remembered for his ideals, he may also be cursed for the mess he left behindHugo Chavez has left behind a big shoe to fill - now the question is does anyone really want to fill this shoe?Chavez was known for a lot of things, among them his charisma, his divisiveness and his confrontational nature, especially where the United States and his political opponents in Venezuela were concerned.
The thing with Chavez was that the force of his personality and the ideals that he stood for often got lumped into one.
His policies helped lift many of his people out of poverty and enhanced public services provided to Venezuela's citizens. However, while he was branding himself as a champion of the poor, Chavez went a little too far in romanticising his struggle by branding Western powers, namely the United States, as the bogey man that was out to get him.
His supporters billed him as a Robin Hood figure - taking from the rich and giving to the poor. With that he certainly changed the lives of his people, leaving it hard for the world to ignore the success - the social programmes, the health clinics, the community councils - all funded by Venezuela's vast oil money.
But then there was his dark side that people could not ignore either. While his supporters were chanting "We are all Chavez!" outside the hospital where he was battling cancer, elsewhere in the country people were celebrating.
While it is true that Chavez's popularity remained in tact after he had won all four elections with a comfortable mandate from his people, he did not always play fair when it came to the rule of law and human rights - the very things the Venezuela constitution promises its people.
Riding on the back of his popularity generated by his populous programmes, Chavez changed the ground rule tremendously and shifted vast powers to the presidency, while stacking various institutions with his supporters.
Silencing his opponents by jailing them was common.
Just as disturbing was his management of the economy. The country is falling to pieces now as investment has come to near halt, while his government has never adequately addressed corruption and violent crime in the country.
A large part of the capital Caracas is a big slum filled with one of the highest crime rates in the world.
People tend to remember him for his controversial and divisive statement, like the time when he called US president George W Bush a "devil" at the UN General Assembly.
It's one thing if you have issues with one of the world's super powers, but its another thing if you continue attacking others for your own political standing.
Unfortunately for Chavez, history will not be too kind to him. He will be seen as a man who did some good, but for questionable reasons because his actions were mainly designed to shore up his presidential power.
He will be judged both by the mess he has left behind and the success he achieved.
While his social programmes may have helped end poverty and educate the poor, one must ask if these initiatives were sustainable, especially if they were relying on oil prices that had been somewhat volatile during the time of his presidency.
But now the thrill is gone and so is the man whose personality was somewhat of a cult. More than anything, Chavez was an illusionist, a tough-talking political leader who tried to convince people that he was working towards a socialist Utopia while conveniently ignoring the mess surrounding him and the problems that he swept under the rug.